Seldom have I had the opportunity to wade into a major-happening-now theological debate. The golden rule of doctrinal discussion is to offend everyone.
I consider myself qualified to do this. Today we discuss: is the Pew or the Couch better to encourage one another in the presence of God?
Christians throughout the centuries have debated and divided. Topics like the trinity; faith vs. works; and liberal vs. conservative politics. I come from a denomination that began as a unity movement and has divided about 350 times in 150 years.
Never though. Never! Have I or anyone else had the opportunity to discuss whether it is better to worship on the pew or on the couch. Because of Covid-19, this issue has become a world-wide church debate.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (NASB)
Two points: 1. Not forsaking our assembling together as is the habit of some. Yes, even in the first century, Christians had their version of ‘The Pew vs. The Couch’ debate. 2. Encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day (second coming drawing near). Interesting that with the return of Christ ever closer, that the church throughout the world has been prevented from physically assembling together!
I realize that many cannot come to the assembly because of health concerns and many churches do not have children’s ministry. All legitimate.
I realize that there are unique opportunities with an online assembling together. A local church can reach an international audience. I have heard testimonies that it is easier to invite someone to watch an online service as an entry point to Jesus.
Hebrews 10:25 reads, “Do not stay away from one another; don’t get distracted by the busyness of life; the day is coming when you will need to encourage one another even more.” (OGV)
One of my great distresses as a pastor has been watching families so diverted by life that they could only manage an entire family dinner once or twice a month. One of the blessings of the Crisis — families could be families.
Scripture teaches that we should guard against distractions that keep us from coming together as the body of Christ. While ‘online’ has benefits, no serious theological debate can conclude that it replaces the worship and praying togetherness of assembling together.
We need to meet together more than once or twice a month.
Ages old Biblical prophecies indicate that persecution will forbid church assembly. The persecution so intense, that throughout the world, the church will go underground.
My prayer is that that cause of followers of Jesus not meeting together is persecution and not the busyness and ‘I’m so tired’ excuses of life.
Finally, I have managed to offend everyone.